Since the start of modern mobility, HGVs and cars have operated on fossil fuel – petrol, diesel or gas. Over time, HGVs have even become 100% diesel. As environmental constraints have multiplied, vehicle manufacturers have re-invented their business, and as a result, between the Euro 0 standard in 1990 and Euro 6 at the end of 2013, harmful emissions decreased considerably.
We have now reached a turning point. Alternative energies are developing and will continue to gain ground until, one day, they will overtake fossil fuels. But diesel will still be used for a long time to come.
THE ENERGY TRANSITION IS UNDER WAY
Even vehicle manufacturers which defend «clean» diesel solutions have developed their arguments by putting forward other solutions. Their ranges still include diesel engines, because there is no alternative for long distances, but they are
proposing alternative choices for specific uses. Electric vehicles are dedicated to urban use. In HGVs, the gas used is either LNG (liquefied natural gas) or CNG (compressed natural gas). These gases are used in response to restrictions
regarding the circulation of truck in cities. Excess purchase costs are often offset with public grants. As for petroleum companies, they are working on new energy solutions because they also need an alternative for the future.
Automotive suppliers are working in partnership with manufacturers. Hydrogen is another talking point. In the HGV sector, we are in the demonstrator phase. But it is clear that manufacturers are also making progress in this field. The latest
example is that of CNH Industrial (Iveco), which has just announced the investment of 250 million dollars in the D series of American manufacturer NIKOLA, which has been developing hydrogen solutions for years.
IS ELECTRIC ENERGY ECOLOGICAL?
All-electric or rechargeable hybrid? In response to the Mazars survey, the survey published by ADEME (French agency for the environment and energy management) takes a different stance, in favour of the rechargeable hybrid, which it considers more relevant. “Because their batteries are smaller, the environmental impact of rechargeable hybrid solutions is smaller, notably for daily trips of less than 50 km, although the cost remains a brake that is slowing down development. These vehicles need to be used regularly and their battery needs to be charged daily to maximise the vehicle’s use in electric mode”, states the survey.
Concerning utility vehicles, ADEME has the same observations. The all-electric vehicle, in view of its consumption, does not seem to be the best solution. For HGVs, the survey does not omit natural gas as a good alternative, although many manufacturers are now proposing an electric range, such as Renault, Mercedes and MAN.